23 March 2009



Sainey returned unusually early from school and was happily shouting "United States of America!!!" - without any explanation from him. I was anxious to know what it was but Sainey was at his game of keeping me in suspense about particular news before telling me.
Sainey kept me in suspense for about 4 minutes before telling me that he had an invitation to an award ceremony at the American Embassy and that I should go to school to get mine as well. Until then I was guessing like a fortune teller saying "have you got a visa to America?”, “have you won the American green card lottery?”!!!
After reading my invitation letter at school I realized that it was slightly different from the letters received by other participants. I was told in the letter to go with one of my parents which kind of made me think I was one of the winners.
Since my parents are bit away at Gunjur, I went to the award ceremony with my uncle who is a tailor in Serrekunda market.
After marching into the American embassy, though not without security checks, I was very sure that I was the winner as almost everybody seemed to be interested in seeing Alhassan Darboe from Nusrat. I got very convinced that something was so special about the self named and so-called professor.
After the arrival of guests and speeches by different speakers came the time to announce the winner, then my name was called. In the first place it seemed like a dream and I had to rub my face, it was not a matter of being confused but rather to convince myself that I could go this far.
At the ceremony, I was happy but my principal was the happiest, as all the principals from different high schools gathered around him to congratulate him and as he said at the school assembly he was like the “king of principals”.
Winning it was not without some interest from the media as journalists wanted to have a word with me and Sainey had to direct them to me as they had mistaken him for me.
My family at Gunjur was so happy and went to the neighboring compound to see me speaking on TV. No sooner had I been on air than a flood of calls came in and Pageant's very own Wandifa was not an exception as he called the next morning to say congrats.
The new found popularity for winning the award seems bent to go on at least for a few months as unknown persons in the street call to say “Hey!!! I saw you on TV” and Gunjurians saying “We are so proud that a Gunjurian won this prize”.
Writing on the blog has greatly helped to sharpen our writing skills as would-be journalists and sitting down to creatively write on a particular topic or story seems not to be a problem for us now at all. Many thanks, Pippa, Ian, Frances, Tina and all the Pageant members for their encouragement, which really did us lot of good and still does.

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